Last night in London, 7a Records held a launch party for the upcoming CD release of Micky Dolenz: The MGM Singles Collection. A host of other goodies were available, Circe Link & Christian Nesmith performed via Skype, and Micky Dolenz welcomed those in attendance via a special video message. To top off everything, 7a's extended quest to release Keep Off My Grass, a long-lost film produced in the 1970s and starring Micky, has become a reality:
Directed by comedian Shelley Berman and starring former Monkee Micky Dolenz, Keep Off My Grass is a stoner comedy that had a limited run on it's initial release. In fact, it's fair to say that hardly anyone saw the movie when it first came out in the mid 70's and almost no one has seen it since. Never released on video or DVD, this is the first time this movie has been publically available.
Sourced from a VHS copy owned by the producers Albert J Salzer & Allan D. Yasnyi, this DVD is presented in this low-fi version as a matter of historical interest. Lovingly restored by film archivist Garrett Gilchrist, please don't expect HD quality! It is taken from a low quality VHS of a screening of the film, while everything has been done to make the image as sharp as possible, it is of a lot lower quality than we have come to expect. This really is for hardcore fans. Thank you for your understanding on this matter!
Monkees expert Iain Lee has spent years searching for this film and has included some great extras to make this a very special package for fans of Dolenz, kitsch and lost 70's classics.
After a couple of years of being semi-retired musically, Micky Dolenz toured Japan in January 1982. The Monkees had experienced a massive revival there when "Daydream Believer" was used in a television commercial in 1980. A new Dolenz single, "To Be Or Not To Be," was released in Japan during that time to coincide with his solo appearances. And now, all these years later, 7a Records is planning to issue a live CD and DVD from the tour! Keep checking back for more updates.
"Dave & Dave Unchained" is a Van Halen-themed podcast co-hosted by Dave Marcone. Dave contacted the Live Almanac this week about an interview they conducted with Buddy Blanchard, the lead singer of a Van Halen tribute band called Romeo Delight. He also happens to be the brother-in-law of Micky Dolenz. In the duo's latest podcast, Blanchard talks about Micky at the 52:20 mark. Thanks to Dave for the heads up!
For the first time ever, Micky Dolenz and Michael Nesmith will comprise The Monkees when the duo and the band appear this evening in Tucson, Arizona at the Fox Tucson Theatre. Because of a family emergency, Peter Tork is unable to perform in Tucson or tomorrow in Phoenix, and Michael Nesmith agreed to substitute for Peter at both shows.
The Monkees' 50th Anniversary Tour commenced on May 18 but has featured only Dolenz and Tork. Nesmith, however, has joined along at various other events this year, including an interview for CBS Sunday Morning, a SiriusXM Town Hall, and a radio guest spot in Louisville, Kentucky. He also "appeared" with Micky and Peter in New York City on June 1 via Skype, performing "Papa Gene's Blues," and popped in for the encore performance in Monterey, California on August 5. And of course, The Monkees' first album of all new material since 1996, Good Times!, features all three surviving members of the group.
Over the years, The Monkees have experienced several variations in their lineup. In late 1968, Peter departed leaving Micky, Davy, and Michael to carry on. Nez eventually followed suit in early 1970, resulting in the duo of Dolenz and Jones. In 1986, Dolenz, Jones, and Tork reunited for The Monkees' 20th Anniversary and continued to perform on and off as a trio through 2011. Peter and Davy even toured Australia in 1986 and 1987 while Micky and Davy joined forces in 2002. During all that time, Nesmith joined his bandmates for various projects and appearances in the '80s and '90s, but when Davy died on February 29, 2012, a new incarnation of The Monkees arose, with Micky, Michael, and Peter performing live as a trio for tours in 2012, 2013, and 2014. Nez stayed off the road in the summer and fall of 2015 when Micky and Peter decided to test the waters, and that duo has represented The Monkees onstage ever since.
So, tonight should be interesting. I hope to have a set list for everyone after the show, and will keep an eye on YouTube for video footage from tonight and tomorrow's events. And finally, The Monkees Live Almanac would like to extend its best wishes to Peter and his family, and look forward to his return!
Tomorrow evening (Monday, September 12) Micky Dolenz will be featured on a radio program hosted by Jools Holland at 11pm (UK time) on BBC Radio 2. Micky will be performing with Jools and his band. Thanks to Rosemary Reedman for the heads up!
Last summer, 7a Records released the very first official collection of Micky Dolenz's early 1970s singles on vinyl and later as a digital download. And now here's an exclusive look at their next project - The MGM Collection on compact disc, along with a plethora of bonus tracks! Look for it this October, and you can pre-order via Amazon US and Amazon UK.
Thanks a lot to Iain Lee of 7a for passing along the press release to the Live Almanac.
A few notes on the bonus tracks:
In 1979, Chrysalis Records in the UK released "Love Light"/"Alicia" as a single there. According to The Monkees: A Manufactured Image, the first 1,000 copies were pressed with a picture sleeve. The B-side is a Dolenz original.
Micky toured Japan in January 1982. The Monkees had experienced a massive revival there when "Daydream Believer" was used in a television commercial in 1980. "To Be Or Not To Be" was released as a single in Japan to coincide with the tour, and was backed by Micky's own "Beverly Hills."
Earlier this year, two long lost Dolenz solo tracks, "Chance of a Lifetime" and "Livin' On Lies," were issued as a 7" vinyl single on Record Store Day exclusively in the UK. A limited edition release in the US quickly followed.
"Porpoise Song," "Good Morning Good Morning," "Crying in the Rain," and "Randy Scouse Git" were performed by Micky, Christian Nesmith, Circe Link, and company during a special 2015 online concert event. A limited edition vinyl EP arrived in July.